It was earlier this afternoon when I was looking over the low-lites from Sunday's PGA Championship. Low-lites, that is, if you are Carl Petterson, the former golfer at Central Alabama Community College. The likeable Swede saw himself get off to a poor start in the final round of the year's last major. How poor? He lost two strokes on his first hole of the day thanks in part to one of many very silly golf rules.
Petterson, hoping for a big finish and a major championship, found his golf ball in a hazard. According to "Golf Digest", Petterson, as the official watched over him, asked if he could brush the grass with his club as long has he didn't put any weight on it. With the official's blessing, Petterson swung away. The catch? The golfer's iron tipped a leaf. "Sorry, big fella- that'll cost you two strokes!". Say what? Seems Petterson moved a loose impediment in a hazard while his golf ball was in the same hazard. Said Petterson, "The official said I could brush the grass- I wish I would have asked him about leaves, too. I was just trying to hit the ball."
I agree with much of what blogger Jay Busbee writes: "Naturally, every time anyone broaches the question of whether maybe, just maybe, the rules of golf might be verging on the absurd, along come the usual troupe of bureaucratic ninnies to trumpet that golf is great because of its rules! No, golf is great despite may of its rules... and will remain great no matter how hard the rules twits try to deny basic common sense." Well put, Jay!
The bottom line? Carl Petterson finished tied for third place in the PGA Championship. He shoots two strokes lower and he finishes in second place. All that was worth was nearly a half a million dollars.
My beef with the rules official was that he could have and should have included a tiny leaf in the same broad sphere as grass. A nit-picky rule cost a good guy a ton of money.
Have a great day, and if you are a golf purist, perhaps there might be a day when you root for the golf world to lighten up a bit- and if you are stickler for the rules of golf, this is one rule that needs to be re-written.
Thanks to blogger Busbee for opening my eyes to a Petterson deal gone bad. You can follow him at Twitter.com@JayBusbee